Who was responsible for failings in YCB

At Barnet Council’s Adult and Safeguarding Committee meeting on 19 March 2015 councillors discussed Your Choice Barnet, part of The Barnet Group, a company owned by Barnet Council.  In addition to the councillors who were members of the committee, senior council officers were present including the Adults and Health Commissioning Director. A director of the Barnet Group, which includes Your Choice Barnet was also present.

The discussion focussed on the CQC inspection of Barnet Supported Living Service run by Your Choice Barnet which rated the service as “Inadequate”.  This is the worst rating CQC can give.  Your Choice Barnet supports vulnerable adults often with complex disabilities, who may not be able to speak for themselves and who may not have a family to support them.

A simple question was asked at the committee meeting – who was responsible for the services run by Your Choice Barnet?  No one could give an answer.  We were assured the committee and council officers present knew the answer even though it must be confusing for the public, but the committee could not enlighten us at this time.  I think we must not forget the victims in all this mess - the service users and their families and the employees.

Perhaps the committee might like to consider the following:

  • On Barnet Council’s website it states “The Adults and Safeguarding Committee is responsible for promoting the best possible Adult Social Care services; ensuring that the Council’s safeguarding responsibilities are taken into account.”
  • Barnet’s website also states the Adults and Health Commissioning Director “is a lead for Adult and Community Services and identify/manage stakeholders to develop effective collaborative working arrangements to achieve high quality customer-focused service outcomes.”
  • Barnet Council owns The Barnet Group, which includes Your Choice Barnet.
  • The Barnet Group – Your Choice Barnet has a Director of Care and Support.


There are other questions that need answers which were not forthcoming or were not discussed at the meeting:

 Why did it take so long for the CQC findings to be shared with Adults and Safeguarding Committee?  The inspection took place in August 2014, the committee was made aware of the findings in February 2015.  There were some very serious safeguarding issues, including the management of people’s medicines and the lack of skills and training of some of the agency staff employed.  If Barnet  Supported Living Service was found to be inadequate why had not CQC checked up on measures being taken to improve matters?  There was no improvement plan discussed at the committee meeting.

Why are not YCB and Barnet Council negotiating in earnest with permanent staff to improve pay and conditions?  As a result of Unison submitting a report to the committee a Unison representative was invited to address the committee.  It was pointed out that the 9.5% pay cut and loss of pay due to restructuring was causing great hardship and was very demoralising.

The Unison Report recommended:

1) Bring YCB services back in-house and secure properly funded and safe services for service users.

2) Failing bringing the services back in-house; enter negotiations with YCB to discuss a more sensible funding regime which will secure improved staff morale, a more permanent, committed and better trained workforce.


Who inspects the YCB day centres?  CQC inspects residential services but not day centres.  There appears to be no independent inspection of the day centres.  The committee seemed reluctant to listen to the experience of one father whose adult daughter attended Community Space.  When his statement was read out it was pointed out that the committee could not deal with individual cases.  The purpose of the statement was to show the committee that the replacement of skilled staff with unskilled staff was having a very detrimental effect on service users at Community Space, but the committee seemed reluctant to pursue the issue.  Perhaps they felt they were not responsible?


Will the Adults and Safeguarding Committee consider bringing YCB back in house?  Two committee members asked this question, as did the public comments that were read out and the Unison report.  It was felt that this could not be discussed for some time as more information would have to be collected before this question could be discussed.


So the question must be asked:


How will those services that are inadequate in Your Choice Barnet be improved?





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